Grieving can be a difficult time for anybody and we all deal with grief in our own ways, it can sometimes feel like your grieving for a long time but there are stages of grief you need to understand to help you overcome it.

 What Is Grief?

Grief is something that we will all deal with at some point in our lives and is accompanied by lots of different feelings such as:

  • Sadness
  • Pain
  • Sorrow
  • Heartache
  • Heartbreak
  • Misery
  • Anguish
  • Torment
  • Suffering
  • Mourning
  • Bereavement
  • Remorse

If you are suffering from any of these feelings they are totally natural and can take time to overcome. The feeling of grief is generally caused by the death of a loved one but can be felt when a relationship breaks up, the loss of a family pet, your children leaving home, loss of a job, and loss through theft, loss of independence through a disability and even a terminal diagnosis of yourself or somebody you love. It’s our body’s natural way of dealing with these losses.

Feelings of grief can sometimes be overwhelming with a feeling of despair, you may find stages of feeling numb and removed from daily life, unable to carry on with regular jobs.

 How Long Should It Take To Deal With

The stages of mourning can last for months or years, and generally the pain is tempered as time passes and as you adapt to life without your loved one or whatever has caused the original grief.

Remember that grieving is a natural personal process that has no time limit nor is there one right way to do it.

There are five stages of grief that we must encounter before we are able to completely say we are over it, these stages are:

  1. Denial And Isolation

The first reaction we have to sad news is to deny the reality of the situation that presents. This is a normal reaction in where we rationalise overwhelming emotions from hearing such news. It is your own defense mechanism that helps to soften the blow of the initial shock. This response is a temporary one that carries you through the first initial waves of pain.

  1. Anger

Once those masking effects of the denial and isolation begin to wear slightly the reality and the pain of it emerges once again. The intense emotion is then deflected from our core and redirected expressed as anger. The anger may be aimed at anything inanimate objects, stranger’s even friends or family. It may even sometimes be directed at the loved one you are grieving for. You know in your rational mind they are not to blame but emotionally you may resent the person for casing such pain, we can then feel guilty for being angry which in turn makes you angrier.

  1. Bargaining

A natural reaction to feelings of vulnerability or helplessness is to very often feel like we need to regain control of the situation. You may experience thoughts such as:

  • If only we had gone for medical advice sooner
  • What if we had got a second opinion
  • If only I had been a better person to them

You may find yourself making a deal with God or your higher power in a far attempt to postpone what is going to happen.

  1. Depression

There are two types of depression that are associated with the mourning process with the first being a reaction to practical implications related to the loss, feeling of sadness and regret are the denominators of this type of depression. In this stage of depression we worry about costs surrounding burials and so forth. You may experience worry about other people and if you have spent enough time with other people who may be affected also. This stage of depression can be alleviated with reassurance and helpful cooperation from other loved ones.

The second type of depression is a more private form it is your own way of preparing in your mind to say goodbye to your loved one.

  1. Acceptance

This stage of grief can feel like it’s a million years away and some people may not be able to reach this stage. We may never be able to see past our anger or denial stage. This stage is marked by withdrawal and calmness, it is not a period of happiness but simple acceptance and the ability to continue life free of the depression.

Coping with any loss is a deeply personal experience and there is no one way of going through these stages, you may find yourself on a continuous loop of anger and depression which inhibit you to move towards the acceptance stage. Find comfort with others through these stages and allow yourself to feel the grief as it comes resisting will only prolong this natural process of healing ourselves.

How Do I Get Past The Grief

As just mentioned grief is a personal experience that has no time limits on it but there are a few things to remember when you are dealing with grief that may help you along the way.

Be Easy On Yourself
Give yourself plenty of space, when you grieve your emotions are on a roller-coaster just let them! Cry when you need to, Laugh if remember a funny memory don’t feel guilty for laughing. Just take time to listen to your body and let emotions take you where you need to go.

Talk To The People Around You
Let the people closest to you know what you need. If you want people around you let them know visitors are ok. If you feel that you are unable to talk on the phone ask a close relative to take care of phone calls and take any messages throughout the days. If you need your space let them know, remember your nearest and dearest only want the best for you but unfortunately aren’t mind readers they need to be told if you don’t want them around all of the time.

Look For External Help
If you’re feeling that it’s all too much and talking to a family member or friend isn’t what you need, look at speaking with a therapist. Having somebody outside of your close network of people can be easier to talk to, they don’t have a biased view on things they are completely disconnected to the situation and can give you a safe place to just grieve.

Distract Yourself
Dealing with grief can be a real hard task sometimes and you need to give yourself a break! Find something that you can do for a few hours just to distract you from the emotions going on inside, there is no need to feel guilty that you are not spending every waking minute grieving you need to think about you and your well being too.

A great quote I found whilst writing this post goes a little like this

“Grieving doesn’t make you imperfect. It makes you human.” By Sarah Dessen, The Truth About Forever, Good Reads.
Grieving is a natural human form of dealing with a situation, just allow yourself to experience it and be kind to yourself.

I heard a great story from Wayne Dyer about a father that lost his son, a few weeks after his death the father attended what would have been his son’s graduation which shocked everyone around him. People asked why are you here, they couldn’t believe that he had managed to bring himself to attend the graduation at such a sad time. His response was simple “I knew sooner or later I would have to get over the death of my son, I chose sooner rather than later”

Remember you can make that choice it’s all about what you want and when you want to make it.